At the recent WPC2008, the head of
Australia's 9mln-bird-per-week chicken meat industry defended the poultry
industry's welfare standards.
It is reported that about 10 Animal Liberation protesters recently staged a
small but "foul-smelling" protest outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition
Centre, where the 23rd World Poultry Congress is currently underway.
Australian Chicken Meat Federation executive director, Andreas Dubs, said
that while today's broilers are bred to grow twice as fast as their backyard
equivalents, it was not in the industry's interest to mistreat the birds. "We
are doing everything we can to keep the birds healthy and to keep them happy,"
The protesters reportedly pretended to feast on 4 newly deceased chickens
they stole the previous night from a farm on the city's outskirts.
According to Animal Liberation spokesperson Angie Stephenson, the group was
"shocked" when they discovered the conditions in 10 chicken farms that they
inspected in the area, each of which farm about 150,000 chickens in 7 or 8
She stated that chickens were not able to stand up because they have such
under-built skeletal systems that cannot carry their own weight. However, Dubs
defended the industry saying that there are bound to be sick birds, or bird with
broken legs within the 9 mln birds produced per week.
Additionally, he said that farmers check the birds twice a day, and if the
birds are unfit, they are either treated or culled.
Dubs also defended the industry's use of antibiotics in meat chickens,
which he said did not cause accelerated growth. "The real reason is selective
breeding," he said, adding that this is a process that had been going on for 30
or 40 years in a very focused way. The end result, he said, is that now
(commercially farmed) chickens grow...about twice as quickly.
Stephenson said Animal Liberation had taken seven rescued chickens to a
veterinarian and would present their medical reports to the RSPCA.